Shelby County Schools distributing lunches across city

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 18, 2020 6:13 PM CT | Published: March 18, 2020 2:28 PM CT

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Shelby County Schools is trying to make sure students don’t go without food during the extended closure because of the coronavirus.

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The state’s largest district is providing meals, beginning Monday, March 23, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., to children under the age of 18 at 60 pick-up sites across the city. The number of pickup sites has tripled since the district announced the distribution plan.

“We in Shelby County Schools are honored to serve the needs of our students and their families,” Superintendent Joris Ray said in a statement. “Our team, with incredible partners, has developed a thoughtful plan to deliver essential meals to ensure food stability in this time of uncertainty.”

The meals will be distributed at churches, community centers and Memphis libraries.

A child must be present to receive a meal. Ray has said all hungry students under 18 will be fed, even if some at the distribution sites are from charters or other school districts.

Next week, lunches could be sandwiches with 3/4 cup of fruit, vegetables and milk. The program is similar to what is done in the summer, according to Phyllis Glover, executive director of nutrition services.

In the summer, meals are provided to about 20,000 kids on average. The food comes from vendors with whom SCS already partners, and Glover said it’s as if the summer program is starting early.

“We’re using this week (March 23-27) to gauge our numbers,” Glover said.

The service will continue through the extended closure, even if it is extended past April. It’s possible breakfast could be available the week of March 30. Students would pick up their lunch along with breakfast for the next day. Breakfast items include juice, cereal, muffins and “super donuts.” The items can last without refrigeration for a couple days.

In the summer program, 12,000 lunches are served. The status of breakfast is based on the response, Glover said.

Some of the sites partnering with Mid-South Food Bank:

  • Tuesday at Promiseland Church, 3430 Overton Crossing)
  • Wednesday at Berea Missionary Baptist Church, 1666 E. Raines Road
  • Thursday at Breath of Life Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 5665 Knight Arnold Road.

Glover said the sites with which the food bank has partnered have agreed to distribute meals in the neighborhood if there are leftovers or they will allow parents to pick up the meals.

“We’re trying to spread out across the city,” she said, noting they wanted to be present in various neighborhoods in need.


Shelby County Schools Joris Ray coronavirus
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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